Veeraswamy Krishnaraj
1. In the depths of the forest, a peregrine falcon, once a majestic ruler of the skies, now lay crestfallen in its nest, its eyes sunken and sealed shut by illness. Nearby, a parrot, having narrowly escaped the clutches of an oppressive fortune teller, alighted upon the same tree where the falcon languished, awaiting its impending demise.
2. The parrot, once a fortune card picker enslaved to a street performer, had fled its servitude after a defiant act against its master: Flinging a card on the face of the fortune teller, who threatened the bird with clipped wings. Now, finding itself in the presence of the ailing falcon, it felt a stirring of compassion.
3. "Your majesty, Mr. Falcon," the parrot chirped, "why do you appear so despondent? What ails you, and how may I be of assistance?"
4. The falcon, weak and stricken by the dreaded bird flu, explained its plight. "I suffer from the infamous bird flu," it rasped, "leaving me unable to hunt. If you would be so kind, fetch me fish from the nearby lake to sustain me."
5. Concern creased the parrot's colorful feathers. "But what if I fail to find sustenance for you, and in hunger, you turn to me as prey?"
6. The falcon's response was firm. "I would sooner perish than feast upon you. My strength wanes to the point where even my wings lie dormant."
7. Determined to aid its newfound companion, the parrot ventured to the lake's edge, patiently awaiting the opportune moment to snatch fish from the water. Yet, instead of merely waiting, it entertained itself and the fish with songs, dances, and charismatic displays in a makeshift shed at the water’s edge.
8. Soon, word spread among the aquatic denizens of the singing, dancing bird at the lakeside. Fish flocked to witness the spectacle, enchanted by the parrot's performance.
9. With each passing day, the parrot lured a fish into its makeshift shed, where it captured its unwitting prey. Months passed, and with each meal delivered to the falcon, its strength slowly returned. The falcon tested the strength of the wings by giving them a spin around the forest canopy.
10. In a moment of surprise, the falcon discovered a glimmering ring nestled within the stomach of one such fish. Adorning a leafless branch with the treasure, the falcon shared its discovery with the parrot.
12. Together, the unlikely duo journeyed to the court of the king, defying guards and protocol. As the parrot dropped the ring upon the king's crown, the monarch's curiosity was piqued.
13. Upon closer inspection, the ring bore the royal insignia, a long-lost possession of the queen, when she and the king went boating in the lake. Grateful for their service, the king bestowed upon the parrot and the falcon the highest honors and a sanctuary within the royal gardens.